A Long Weekend

One of the best things about working in Korea this time of year is lots of time off right in a row. The last week of July was my summer vacation. The week after was basically only half a week of work. This week we get a three day weekend. A couple weeks from now we get several days off for Korean Thanksgiving. It’s not too shabby. The occasion this Monday is the Korean Independence Day. Happy Birthday Korea! When I talk about “independence”, particularly with my young students, I generally refer to it as the country’s birthday to put it in easy terms for them to understand.

Speaking of birthdays, mine is in exactly 30 days. I’ve already started a countdown on the board in class. I’m making damn sure all my students know when my birthday is. I don’t expect anything from my first graders, and my older students that like me might bring something for me, but I’m doing it mostly for my kindergartners. They better bring me some good shit, too. I’ll have been teaching them for six months at that point, and with all this forewarning, there’s no reason for them not to get me something.

One of my students from my last class on Tuesday/Thursday quit. I liked her, but she was a bit… Distracted. Almost always drawing in her book instead of listening. The last day I saw her, she didn’t even tell me. I had to find out the next week from another student. I guess her younger brother is switching hagwons, so her parents just decided to switch both kids to keep things simple. Oh well. The nice thing is now that class is just one student, and she’s my favorite, so we’ll be doing a lot more fun things, and I can tailor the class to her interests.

Friday night, I went Hashing. It was pouring rain when I made the trip to Pyeongtaek, but by the time we started running the rain was really light, and before long, it stopped completely. Did that mean I managed not to get my shoes soaking wet? Hell no. Most of what we ran was what you would call “off-road”. We were running along rivers, through mud puddles shin-deep, around rice paddies and up mountains. Someone with a pedometer said it was about 10K all told. I think that’s easily the furthest I’ve ever run. It wasn’t easy. By the end, I was close to surrendering and taking a cab or bus back to the start, but then I realized I didn’t have any money on me because I left my wallet in my backpack. It took just about two hours to finish the trail and then another maybe 30 minutes to walk back to the start. Lots of people didn’t do the whole thing. Out of a group of roughly 25, about 15 either didn’t bother starting trail or quit in the middle. I like being able to say I ran a trail most people gave up on.

Saturday I Hared for another group. I’d Hared before, but since it was my first time, I just let the two more experienced people handle the planning and such, so I just followed their directions. This time, the two of us Haring were both fairly new to it, though the other guy had done it a handful of times, I believe. We were kind of decided last minute because other people had prior engagements that kept them from doing it. When we met up to walk around and plan where we would run, it was pouring rain. Even with my umbrella I got soaking wet. So we didn’t even really plan the whole thing. After awhile we got sick of it and went back to get dry. So a couple portions of the trail we pretty much winged it.

I have to say, it was a lot of fun. I liked walking around and exploring, finding cool ways to slow people down and make them think to find the trail. I was afraid that since not much planning went into it, it might be too short, and that we wouldn’t be very far from the start, so people might think it was boring, but it was quite to the contrary. A couple people actually told me it was really good (one went so far as to say the best in 3 years), which was really awesome. Hashers generally give the Hares a hard time and jokingly tell them how much the trail sucked, so to have them go out of their way to say how good they thought it was  really nice. I think I’ll be Haring again ASAP.

Tomorrow is my day off, of course, but I think it’s going to be busy as shit. I want to go to the gym, I should probably take bike to the shop because it’s leaking a little bit of gasoline, I have to meet a friend and file for my visa to go to China next month, I also want to go and wander around and scout some trail for future reference, and I may pick up some new shoes as well. I actually bought some yesterday before running trail, but I’d like one pair of shoes I can get nasty and a pair to keep nice and dry for the gym.

Anyway, nothing really special going on tonight. I think tons of people are out of town for the long weekend. Just trying to gather some people for fried chicken and beer. I’ll probably call it an early night so I can get my long day started right.

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